Thursday, May 7, 2009


Aloha, Makamaka...Long time no post.

Busy times afoot both here in homeport and deployed, the last several weeks having me in Seattle for a week on a work trip followed by a side trip to Hilo for as much property searching I could fit in during six days.

I was greeted at the Hilo airport with ceremony in Bristol fashion and in the Island tradition with leis after the hop from Honolulu by my very good Shipmate and friend Lee, whose gracious generosity and Aloha, and that of his entire Ohana demonstrated with crystal clarity how genuinely kind and welcoming local people are. They welcomed me into their home making me feel immediately like a member of their Ohana, with an open invitation to stay with them as well as unlimited use of a pickup truck with which to explore the properties on my list. Lee's family is nothing short of delightful. Mahalo nui to all members of every generation whom I met and with whom I made instant friends.

Wes, my realtor and new found makamaka and his charming better half Devany were equally generous and welcoming by hosting me in their home for an evening of engaging company, great food and drink, the intoxicating view of Hilo Bay from their lanai overlooking the cliffs, and expert, thorough support in my property search during my week on the Island.

The end reult of the expedition was my return to Florida with a short list of six properties of interest, the first on the list being far ahead of the next one in terms of ranking. That meets my criteria for calling the trip a success, and the time I shared with my friends, old and new talking story I consider a big bonus, making my visit seem much less arduous than originally expected and truly the highlight of my latest visit to the Big Island.

A summary of the property search effort:

Having spent six months on only marginally effective research of the Puna properties listed from here in Florida, I had narrowed my sights on Hawaiian Acres, the large subdivision of mostly 3 acre agriculturally-zoned parcels south of Kurtistown known for its relative isolation, sparse population and limited extent of development. The last part of that is my polite way to characterize HA as sort of 'wild, wild west-like;' principal reasons for that assessment being (a) poor road conditions, largely unlevel land with a good deal of evidence of flash flooding, and (c) most vacant properties extremely overgrown with vegetation that prevented adequately close inspection.

After 2 days of looking at 85% or so of the lots on the list I brought with me, Wes and I redirected our efforts to Hawaiian Paradise Park, southeast of Keaau where I quickly experienced a paradigm shift from 3 acres being my goal to smaller 1 acre lots in an environment where I found conditions much more acceptable for people like us whose sense of adventure does not quite meet that recommended for living in the boonies of an area more remote and less developed.

All in all, we looked at about 40 properties and came away, as I said with six 'possibles.' Lee volunteered to visit those on the short list last weekend to give me his evaluation of each from his thorough knowledge of the land (He was born and raised in the pineapple plantation camps around the Big Island's East Side and knows what to look for or what to stay away from). He and Patty made a trip down to Puna on Sunday and made a close inspection of the first three, their discoveries validating that my #1 choice was center target.

The property is just over 1100 yards from the ocean at an elevation of 80' to 85'- from there you can hear the waves breaking on the rock cliffs and I have a notion that with the right architectural design a glimpse of the Pacific on the eastern horizon might be possible from there as well. During their visit to Puna on my behalf Lee and Patty made the acquaintance of one of the next door neighbors whom he tells me is a most amiable sort, and who described the people on the other side as 'good neighbors.' His neighbor on the far side is also retired Navy which, if the planets align and we move to that neighborhood, the USN (Ret) population will effectively double, and provide opportunities for spinning yarns as old Sailors have been known to do since men began going down to the sea in ships, and perhaps even an occasional game of cribbage, acey ducey, or Ship, Captain, Crew. (My dice cup is a nautical artifact of exceedingly great importance).

With all information collected and analyzed to date, I feel that its time to put an offer on the table for my #1 choice. That effort is in progress as we speak, and I have fingers, toes, eyeballs crossed for good luck to bring us a quick agreement of terms with the party offering the property for sale. The only other thing I hope for is the good graces of King Neptune and Kanaloa, (Hawai'ian God of the Ocean) to look favorably upon us in our quest for our little piece of Paradise.

Funny how a Sailor spends his entire career making every effort to avoid the maritime professions considered a navigational hazard, yet now I find myself looking for a place to set the navigation detail and drop anchor for the final time, to go ashore, and stay ashore.

More to come as the story develops.

A hui hou,